Advanced livestock feed supplements to reduce Australia’s emissions

Original article by Mark Phelps, Queensland Country Life

HIGH tech livestock feed supplements will be one of the key drivers of a comprehensive strategy to reduce Australia’s emissions by 2050.

Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor said advanced livestock feed supplements, hydrogen, lithium, carbon capture and storage would be pursued in a major shift away from investment in well developed wind and solar technologies.

Mr Taylor said Australia would take a technology-based long-term emissions reduction strategy to UN climate talks to be held in Glasgow later in November.

A strategy based approach is being adopted by the Morrison government as an alternative to a hard line goal of a carbon neutral economy by 2050.

The Australian red meat industry has already set an ambitious target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030 but it is still to be clearly understood how that objective can be achieved in practical terms within the next 10 years.

Professor Luciano Gonzalez from The University of Sydney said CN30 was achievable but it required a multi-pronged approach.

“It is clear transformational solutions are needed to change the way the red meat industry is currently perceived,” Prof Gonzalez said.

“New feed technologies along with improvements in productivity and land management, as well as a better whole of farm carbon balance accounting scheme mean CN30 is achieveable.”

Prof Gonzalez is working on breakthrough research in collaboration with the 4 Season Company to dramatically cuts emissions, particularly is extensive grazing systems.

In some of his early research cases, in vitro studies showed that methane emissions could be reduced by 50 per cent by improving feed digestion and controlling methanogenic bacteria.

“Our modelling indicates that feed supplementation of a breeding herd of 3000 cows in Northern Australia could reduce emissions by 6954 tonnes CO2emissions/year, equivalent to a 42pc reduction in intensity of green house gas emissions (kg CO2e/kg live weight produced),” Prof Gonzalez said.

Emissions were further reduced by the development of cattle producing the same amount of beef at an earlier age, vegetation and soil carbon sequestration, and the oxidation of methane by soil bacteria, he said.